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Archive for the ‘Cohen’ Category

We were swimming in large pool. I thought I was going to be teaching Cohen to swim, but as it turned out, he was already a great swimmer. He dove to the bottom of the pool effortlessly and swam down on the floor like no one I had ever seen. He looks like a guppy, I thought to myself with a smile. I then noticed that the pool had no deep end- it was all deep. My feet couldn’t touch the bottom. Co was under water longer than I thought he could be, but again he labored without noticeable effort. Then I saw him struggling as he rocketed to the surface of the water. He didn’t realize he was out of air until the last second. I held him and then he dove back under, I did my best to stay above him as he swam deep to the bottom of the pool, knowing it was likely he’d again not recognize when it was time to come up for air. He zig zagged from here to there; I struggled to keep up. Then he swam right into a volleyball game happening on the other side of the enormous pool. I panicked. He bumped into legs and feet, but kept on going. I could barely make my way through the sea of bodies. The volleyball smacked down beside me.

Saturday morning I woke up to this dream. The images were as vivid as a movie, thanks to the pregnancy hormones which often make dreaming seem as real as being awake.

Some years ago I attended a Sara Groves concert with my sister and my parents. She had just released her album, The Other Side of Something. I listened as she talked about the inspiration for the songs coming almost entirely from a struggle she’d had with the Lord over her two sons. Though she was herself ready to take on whatever God asked of her, the thought that her children might suffer was unsteadying. She talked about searching the Scriptures for assurance that her children would be protected, but time after time only discovered that it was most likely that they would be hurt and maimed by life, the sin of others, their own sin and times, possibly even God. Those gut wrenching 11 songs were written as she fought these realities, finally making peace with the sovereignty and goodness of God.

Though I wasn’t a parent at the time – or even a married woman- her words resonated with me and some seven years later are still with me.

Cohen turned four last Friday… unbelievable. When you have a baby everyone tells you to enjoy it because it goes fast, but they tell you this when you’re in newborn land and days run into each other, filled with sleeplessness and feedings and dirty diapers. It is hard to believe them then, but one day you turn around a six months or a year has passed and all the little things you thought you’d never forget are starting to get fuzzy in the files of your memory.

When he woke up in our caboose cabin that morning (I will post photos at some point- so cute! an old caboose converted to a cabin in Hocking Hills) he hopped into bed with us. I had only moments earlier hopped into bed with David (the caboose only had single beds), not sure I’d even fit with my burgeoning belly. With Cohen added to the mix, we were very snug little bugs. In keeping with my mom’s tradition, I told him about the day he was born… about waking up early in the morning not feeling “right”, about how I mopped the floor and then drove myself to the hospital… about that terrifying and wonderful moment when the nurse checked me and said, “well we’re having a baby today!”… and about the moment when I heard his cry, saw his face and learned he was (as I had suspected) a boy. He ate it up. I felt like it was so near I could almost relive it for a moment myself.

The Spring does something to Cohen. This is the first year I have been able to them together enough to understand some of it. Change is a hallmark of Spring… new buds, new life, new length of days, new warmth in the air. For us, the last few Aprils have meant even more change than what naturally occurs. Three years ago, Cohen was turning one. We had his birthday on a tour bus. Though the events of how and why and what exactly have been stripped from my remembrance, there was a feeling that the marriage was salvageable and that we might be a family. A week later, the veneer on that hope cracked and began its slow 8 month crumble. His second birthday rounded out a month of changes: papers filed, a move from our own place to live with my parents, a full time job for me. Last year, he turned three weeks after the divorce was final (not that it meant any real changes to his everyday life) and we entered a new season that foreshadowed what would soon be our new reality.

There are a lot of things Cohen doesn’t know. But there are a lot of things he does know that I wish to God he didn’t. He often surprises me with his words and insight and understanding. This is a double edged sword. A friend recently encouraged me to ask Cohen about a particular circumstance to explore what he was aware of. So I did. I asked. I sat and listened as he explained a series of contexts and implications. I felt shock and sadness. Shocked at the sheer vastness of what he had gleaned from whispered conversations and words that had never been explained to him. Sad that the words had ever touched his ears, sadder still that the contexts even exist.

This year on his birthday, things are as settled as they have ever been for us. There is some unfinished business on the near horizon but by and large there is peace and calm. Some days I think Co can feel the loose ends as much as I can, though he knows little of the situation that lies ahead. We pushed it out of all our guts for a few days of birthday camping and hiking and togetherness. Cohen seemed light as a feather, giddy and full of life. David and I spoke briefly about times that this isn’t true. We sat by the smoldering campfire with cups of coffee while Co launched his hot wheels off the picnic table ramp into the woods.

I thank God for the changes that this year has brought our family… for stability and a home and expansion, for the new life inside of me, for David. I look forward with expectation to the changes that are still unfolding and are finally soon coming.

Being a parent is not for the faint of heart. Though Sara’s words in that concert struck a chord with me so long ago, I am only now intimately acquainted with the experiences of which she spoke. I know now what it is to struggle with God over your child’s well being. And, thank you Jesus, I know now what it is to find that your child is the hands of One who knows and sees and cares and is ABLE.

Sunday morning as I woke up, I remembered the dream from the morning before. David was still breathing evenly beside me. I had joked about Cohen being a guppy and the oddity of the dream the day before, but in the calm Sunday morning light, I started to see it for what it was… a tiny fear that I cannot protect him all the time had blossomed and bloomed into the silly images, as my subconscious tried to find a way to work it out. I laid there for awhile with that thought stirring until the Lord reminded me of the other side of the equation.

Two of the biggest blows in my life have come in August. August 2007 I uncovered something that turned my world upside down. And two summers later in August 2009 I learned that a horrible blow had come to my son’s life. That weeks that followed were a blur of tears and helplessness and fear. I was away overnight to do a training and I was woken early in the morning by a text from Pastor Ricks, encouraging me to read through a portion of the Psalms. I got up and did so. In those early morning hours the Lord broke my heart and allowed what had been pent up behind the flood gates to all come out. I repeated the words of Psalmist, capturing them as my own. At one point the Lord said to me that Cohen would grow strong even in his youth and then the Lord gave me the picture from Psalm 1 of the tree planted by the streams of water, whose leaf never withered and whose every endeavor prospered. I read it aloud again and again, placing my son’s name into the text, believing in my heart that it was all true of my then toddler and his future.

Though fear may want to grip my heart in these next couple of weeks, I have determined to believe God. I am determined to instead let my heart cling to His unfailing words. May God arise and His every enemy be beaten!

Even before I pregnant, David and I had felt strongly about a particular name for a son. The middle name has been a whole other story… the list of could-be middle names is still quite long and very undecided. I was going over them this morning, thinking about their meanings. The first name we’ve chosen means “eagle”. I felt like the Lord was reminding me of Isaiah 40 and naming our child with that picture of overcoming just seems right. When I named Cohen, I just liked the name. Cohen Reid. I fit; it sounded right. David loves the meaning of names and when we were first reconnecting he said something powerful about Cohen’s. Cohen is Hebrew for priest and while Reid actually means “red”, David said that Cohen was a “priest among the reeds”, referring to Moses.

Moses had some wounds, flaws, set backs. He hadn’t been unscathed by life, but he was called of God to be a deliverer to his people. This morning and in the weeks that lie ahead of us, I am nurturing these images of my son…not only is to be solid, unwavering, steady, well fed, prosperous.. but he is also purposed to be a leader and deliverer.

Whether or not my subconscious can work it all out, I know my God is more than able to accomplish all that He has begun.

So thank you God for this rainy Monday that You have breathed life into and for a season to hold fast and believe You. We covet your prayers for our family and our faith as we eagerly await the unfolding of what God has called into being. Thank you, friends

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From the moment I knew that there was a tiny bean of person growing inside of me, I loved him [“it”]. When I was pregnant for Co I had no idea how much I would love him, but of course, I took one look at him and instantly couldn’t remember not knowing his face or what life had been like without him. Each season and stage of his life has been difficult in some ways and amazing in others. In the middle of each season, I think “this is my favorite age”… not that I didn’t like the age before; it just keeps getting better…

But still- honestly- this is my favorite age. [Seriously, to quote one of Cohen’s favorite words]. Not only do I love my kid more than I even know, but I am finding the more his personality emerges, the more I just like him… David and I like him so much that we’ve both admitted to worrying that maybe it will be hard to like any subsequent children as much as we like him. Of course, I know that’s natural with baby #2 and that most parents worry about those kinds of things…

But [seriously] Cohen has enough personality for 10 preschoolers. He is witty and engaging. He is interested in everything, constantly asking me what things are “made ov-uh” (translation: made out of- he can’t seem to get that down). He is smart as a whip (sometimes too smart and too inquisitive for his own good). And boy is he ever creative…! Whew! There are times we feel almost worn out because of the never ending parade of words and stories, but when you really listen his imagination is quite impressive. I am often amazed at the things he knows or has “figured out all myself” and just the unusual way his mind works. His teachers are always telling us how he asks questions during reading time that none of the other kids even understand. We just smile- the depth of his questions often catch us off guard too…

[Okay this is turning into a total brag blog about my little boy, so forgive me]

…lately he has been talking a lot about God… saying poignant statements, asking questions we hardly know how to answer, and then cracking us up with his ideas about how it works. Maybe they won’t be as incredible to anyone else, but as an ode to Co and in an attempt not to forget (thank you world wide web) I wanted to chronicle a few of them here.

– Sunday afternoon Cohen and I were coloring and he said, “Mom, I don’t think I can listen to God’s words”. [The whole “listen to my words” thing is preschool speak for “obey the teacher”]. The corner of his mouth turned up in perfect parallel to his cocked eyebrow, the way it does when he makes a frank observation. “Why is that, Co?” I asked. He sighed. “Well, I like to eat strawberries from trees.” I stared at him questioningly for a moment, trying to make heads or tails of it. He wasn’t telling me a random story. He continued, “Adam got into a lot of trouble. He listened to the snake.” Now I am getting the picture and trying not to laugh. “Mom, I am serious. But I really like to eat strawberries from trees, so (sigh) I can’t listen to God’s words. Sorry.” I smiled at him, explained that that was one particular tree from a long time ago, that God didn’t mind that he wanted to eat strawberries and that by the way, strawberries don’t grow on trees anyway. “Oh!” he said with delight, “Ok, Mom, I can listen to God’s words.”

“Mom, how come God never takes a nap?” Apparently though he was pretending not to listen at church, he had heard Pastor say that God never sleeps or slumbers. “Well, Co Bean, He doesn’t have a body like we do, so He doesn’t need to rest.” “God doesn’t have a BODY?”he exclaimed. I hesitated. David would later try to explain that God has a glorified body. I was too exhausted to explain all those words so I just said “no”. There was a moment of pause before Co exploded into laughter, “God is NAKED!” Hmmm… not what I was going for exactly *grin*

– Cohen has a hard time sleeping and deals with a lot of night terror. Every night when we say prayers, he wants us to pray for God to send angels to his room to protect him. One night a few weeks ago, after I finished praying, Co piped up. “Mom, can you ask God again and this time tell Him we want the big, strong angels with the really huge muscles?” Since then that’s the prayer. Sunday we were leaving church and another dad who has a child in Co’s class said that the boys had been discussing how they have angels. When we got into the car, I asked Co about the conversation. “Yeah, I told him at our house we have the angels with the really huge muscles,” Co said proudly. I think this is some Christianized version of the whole my-dad-could-beat-up-your-dad thing.

– Driving home from school last week, Cohen and I were talking about doing right and obeying his teachers. He said something profound. “Mom, sometimes I do bad things that I don’t want to do and then I feel angry.” I almost had to stop the car. Profound.

– Today as we were leaving for school, Co said “Mom, what does it mean to be in the Spirit?” I asked him where he had heard that and he shrugged. I asked him what he thought it meant. He was quiet a moment. “When you listen to God with your heart.”Yep, Bean that’s right. When you hear God and you obey Him that’s being in the Spirit.” He locked eyes with mine, said nothing and then looked out the window, thoughtfully. I pray all of that is just getting into him…!

“Mom, what is God made ov-uh?” [If anyone knows how to explain that one, please comment!]

“Mom, can bad people steal things out of heaven?” “No, babe. No one can steal anything out of heaven,” I answered. “Why?” “Well because God is there.” “Because God will KILL them if they do?” His eyes shone. Cohen loves the idea of justice. (perhaps too much?) “Bad people can’t get to heaven,” I said trying to get the conversation off of God killing people. “Good. Can we hide my toys there?” Didn’t see that one coming 🙂

“Mom, why isn’t God on everyone’s side?” Cohen asked me this weekend. We’ve talked a few times about how he doesn’t have to worry or be nervous because God is on his side. “Well babe, God doesn’t really pick sides. He has His own side and anyone who wants to can be on it. But some people don’t want to be on His side.” He was incredulous, “Why? God is really HUGE. I want to be on God’s side” (especially now that the whole strawberry debacle has been put to rest)

– We finished reading a chapter of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Co said, “you know what, Mom? I think Aslan is really Jesus.” Well, Mr. Lewis, you can’t get anything by my 3 year old.

– At dinner tonight, Cohen swallowed a bite, looked at his plate, stood up, pulled up his shirt, and looked at his belly. “Mom, where does the food go when I swallow? Into my heart?” I explained digestion as best as I could to my preschooler, promising we’d look up pictures after dinner, “but, no, babe, not to your heart.” “Oh! That’s right! That’s where Jesus goes,” he said after hitting his palm on his forehead, like ‘oh silly me. how could i have forgotten’.

Now can’t you see why this is really (seriously) my favorite age?!?

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Time: According to Cohen

Cohen started coming into our bedroom in the wee hours of the morning (around 2a). By 5:30 it was clear that he was ready to wake up.

We weren’t.

He obliged and went back to bed for another 45 minutes.

At 6:15 he came back in and did the usual: curled up next to me, rubbed my ear, and with the sweetest smile said, “I love you so much, pretty mommy” (he’s a charmer, ladies- God help me when he’s a teenager! One day this week he asked his preschool teacher out on a date to the movies… yea…). I smiled and closed my eyes, the universal sign that though I appreciated the flattery, I still wasn’t ready to get up.

Apparently preschoolers are not familiar with universally known facial expressions.

So… then he tickled and “tooted” and moved to David’s side of the bed to do the same. Eventually so the cuteness of it had worn off under my need for 15 more minutes of shut eye, “Cohen go to your bedroom and play, please until we’re ready to get up.”

People, you would’ve thought I just told him he could never eat chocolate again or something. He was hysterical.

When hysteria was ignored, he turned to whining: He needed a drink. Then he was scared. The it was too dark. Then he missed the dogs and wanted to go downstairs. Then he was hungry. Then he was scared again.

When the whining did not make me jump out of the bed any sooner either, he finally asked how long until I was ready to go downstairs. “Ten minutes,” I replied, thinking that meant little to a kid who doesn’t know how to tell time.

“OH MOMMY,” he wailed, “ten minutes is a lot of numbers!”

Despite the fact that it was still not 6:30 and despite the fact there had been a lot of whining and crying, David and I couldn’t help but laugh.

Co stormed off to his room. About 30 seconds later he came back. “Mom, my clock says it’s time to get up now.”

[Side note: David put a digital alarm clock in his room, in an effort to tell him he had to wait to get up until it went off. Fail. Good idea, but total fail. The boy is such an early rise/light sleeper that I am sure he will never need an alarm- he could get the sun up if she needed help]

“Oh really, Bean? What does your clock say?” I wondered what number he would come up with. In Co’s world everything is always 8 o’clock or 11 o’clock.

“It said [think about this being said in a very high pitched, whispery voice of a child] “It’s time to wake up! It’s time to wake up! It’s time to wake up!”, he insisted. Apparently he took that whole what does it say thing literally (another reason to love the preschool age language development- it is so literal).

“Ooohhh… okay” I said, stifling a giggle.

He went back to his room for a second and then came back, “Now my clock is saying that its really time for OTHER people to get up. I am very serious, Mom.” His little face was as serious as stone.

“Any people in particular?” David asked, working to hold back his smile.

His face cracked and that big infamous Cohen grin appeared… “like YOU!”

So friends, this is a story about why no one is our house gets to sleep until their alarm goes off. Even on Saturdays.

God, can you please make this child in my womb have the sleeping capabilities of my husband? Please and thank you.

Happy Friday, friends! 🙂

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You know how it is when you are on the internet working on one thing and then you click on this link that leads to that link that leads you somewhere you probably should not be. Well I started to read something that simultaneously made my blood boil on my own behalf and crushed my heart for my son… and then I stopped reading; clicked it all off; closed the laptop.

I sat for awhile, creating in my mind thinly veiled tweet after thinly veiled tweet. How to say it without actually saying it in 140 characters or less.

Then somewhere in the midst of the angst I only feel when I disobey God’s command to keep my eyes on Him alone, the Spirit conquered over the whining and fist-raising nature of my flesh. I felt my weak inward groans gathering real strength from the Presence of my Salvation. Jesus, always save me from my desire to be my own defender!

If you’ve ever had to really crucify your flesh and die a deeper death than at times feels possible, then you know it requires more than spiritual awareness and wishful thinking. The only thing that works for me to stay free once Truth has made me free, is to entirely refocus my heart. If Jesus enables me to conquer the longing of my flesh and then I don’t quickly get myself in worship and thinking about all He is and all He has done, I will easily be taken back over.

David has been the last in our family to get the flu so he nibbled on dinner and then headed to bed early, stocking cap on so he can “cook out the germs”. Cohen and I cuddled the evening away. He’s been very emotional today. We sat across the kitchen table this evening having the kind of grown up discussion no parent should ever have to navigate with their 3 year old. His little chin never really stopped quivering and he needed a fairly permanent spot on my diminishing lap for the remainder of the evening. Now he’s fast asleep on the couch adjacent to me, covered with his favorite Superman sheet. (We’re sleeping downstairs, containing the nasty flu bug to the second floor-we don’t want to do more than one round of it!)

All of that to say, I am now awake and alone with my thoughts. Wouldn’t the Enemy just love to tempt me! Sometimes I more tangibly experience the war Paul described in Galatians 5:17 when he wrote, “the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another”. This raw truth is foundational evidence for Paul’s plea one verse before, “But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).”

Oh how the Enemy would love for me strangle me with angry thoughts and drag me back to the kind of brooding that feasts on itself and is never satiated! How he would love plant words in my mind and get me to feel the defeat that is rightly only his! And if he couldn’t coerce me into outright rebellion, he’d settle for my unplugging and watching something mind numbing on Netflix…

So instead of giving him an inch to do his work of killing/stealing/destroying, I am going to rehearse the innate Goodness of the Lord and how His faithfulness has undergirded my life and made it overflow with His abundance.

Tonight I got to hold my precious son on my lap while he fell asleep (after claiming he’d forgotten how to 🙂 ) I rubbed his back and watched his almond shaped eyes slowly close, the smile on his face fade into ease of sleep, and his breathing become deep and even. The Lord continues to remind me of the promises He has undeniably spoken about Cohen’s providential life. He will be like a tree planted by streams of waterHe will be whole and solid and unwavering. Though many arrows have been aimed in his direction, I can see how the Lord is already making good on His promise to reroute any weapon intended for my his life. On paper, the account and happenings of his life shouldn’t add up to a well adjusted little boy, but it does. On paper, the account and happenings of his life shouldn’t add up to a little boy who effortlessly taps into the things of God, but he does.

Superbowl Sunday this year, Cohen and I were driving to our home from my parents’ at half time. “Mom, I wish God was real,” Cohen said with a sigh.

“Honey, He IS real,” I assured him, knowing that line between real and not real is blurry for children who want to believe in Santa and Spiderman.

“Then, why can’t He come out of the clouds so I can see Him?” he asked bluntly. We talked about how God is everywhere with us and not just in the clouds and how we can feel Him and talk to Him and hear Him even though we can’t see Him with our eyes or touch Him with our hands. I wasn’t sure if Co would be able to follow the conversation, but as usual, his childlike understanding of God humbled me.

“When I talk to God, why can’t I hear Him, Mom? How do I talk to Him and hear Him?” I did my best to explain how God can speak to our hearts and how we can know its Him.

“Mom, I want to talk to God in my heart. How does He get in there?” asked my wide-eyed preschooler. So we talked about that and I refocused the rear view mirror to look at him. He understood. I pulled over and prayed with Cohen as he told Jesus he wanted to talk to Him forever and that He could come in.

It was an indescribable moment. While I choked back tears, Cohen called Grandma and David to tell them about how Jesus was living in his heart. He got it.

Faithfulness, friends… that’s God working ALL things together for Good.

Last year at this time, I was one day past the final divorce decree. I was living with my parents, still unemployed after being laid off 5 months before, wondering how in the world I would get my house livable for Cohen and I. The Lord asked me to give Him a season of my time. I had no idea all that He was working out for me! Sometimes I feel like Job- getting back multiple times more what had been lost…

Tonight I am sitting in that very livable house that is getting an addition this spring and a porch and privacy fence for our comfort. In this space, I have everything I need and many things I have just wanted. I have a job that allows me to fulfill a lifetime longing to work with young moms. I am close to paying off all of the debt the divorce left me with. My refrigerator is full. We have two working cars parked in the driveway. When bills come, I open them without anxiety because I know I can pay them. The Lord has by His unmatched power delivered me from depression, anxiety and bitterness. In my womb, fluttering and flipping and kicking all day is my second son, who is big and healthy and strong. I once thought I might never have the pleasure of bringing another child into the world or giving Cohen a sibling, but not even a year later, that is happening.

Upstairs asleep is my husband, the kind of man I wish every woman could share their life with. David exemplifies to me in big and in small ways, what God meant when He drew the parallel of a bride and Bridegroom to help us understand His love. Every day I encounter David’s unbending kindness and his joyful pursuit of me and I learn. I learn more of who Jesus is and how He feels about me and just how much I really do love Him because He first loved me. I have now the marriage I could have only dreamt about. I have a husband who, without fanfare, loves Jesus and lives righteously.

Abundance. Overflow. Fullness.

And best of all? I hear the Lord speaking to and influencing my person in much the same simple way I explained it to Co in the car that day. He whispers and stills any fear of what will be. He reminds me of what He’s already said. He breaks my heart with worship while I am in the car or folding laundry. His correction reminds me that I am His. Like a daily baptism, He helps me to identify my own deaths to His sacrifice and the resurrection of my spirit man with His overcoming. He reminds me that to obey is sweeter than to sacrifice. He renews, revives, restores… He continues to breath new life into what was.

Jesus, You are Good and Your love endures FOREVER.

Tonight, may my thoughts meditations on You be unshakable…immovable…undistractable…

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I should’ve known by Monday that the week wasn’t going to go as planned. Sure, a moved hair appointment is a small thing, but I should’ve known.

I got the text in the afternoon: could I do Monday at 6:45 instead of Tuesday at 7? Sure, I sent back. After all, David would be home by then and the nurse who comes to administer my progesterone is long gone by 6:30, I surmised. David was home, but the nurse got detained at the local jail while giving a shot to an inmate (they didn’t want her bringing needles in- that makes the whole shot thing kinda difficult, eh?) so she was late and consequently, so was I. By 9p my husband was calling my phone, sure that I had plummeted my car into a ditch somewhere in the 10 blocks between our home and the salon. The truth was, I was still in foils (for all you male readers, this is what I am talking about)

It had been a long day by the time I went to sleep Monday night, beginning early with Cohen’s pre-kindergarten screening. He was so excited I was sure he’d eventually (literally) start bouncing off of the walls. When the woman who will be his teacher came to get him from the office, he smiled and took her hand and walked right out with her. All I could think was how my baby has gotten so big and grown… where has all the time gone? I didn’t have long to think about it before David and I were whisked into the principal’s office for our interview. We got asked about our jobs and the normal Christian questions we had expected, but then the principal asked what did we want for Cohen when he was 21? Twenty one!?!?! This is pre-kindergarten screening, right? I thought. Not exactly what every mother wants to think about at pre-kindergarten screening- her son being a legal adult, right ladies? Right? I was having a hard time with his not needing me to walk with him to the screening room, I wasn’t ready to muse about him driving and working and going to college and living on his own… whew! I somehow got an answer out without thinking about the someday-reality of it too much. A minute later we were rescued by the return of our son and his new teacher. He had candy in his hand and a toy figurine and a parachute. The teacher was giggling. “He is SO fun” she said at least twice. You have no idea, I thought to myself with a smile. He did well- of course he did not count to ten, but then again what was I expecting? He might’ve taken her hand and been a bucket of creativity and laughs, but he wasn’t going to count for her if he won’t count for me. He’s not all that grown yet. Thank God.

With Tuesday’s hair appointment moved to Monday, there wasn’t supposed to be anything going on Tuesday. But that was before we learned my dad has colon cancer. Sure I knew he was having a colonoscopy. Mom had pulled me aside Sunday and told me dad wasn’t feeling so well, but that he didn’t want anyone to know and I shouldn’t mention it to my siblings. It was probably nothing. By Tuesday morning all my siblings knew the nature of the “not well” dad was feeling and that he’d be having the routine procedure in the morning. (This is how all information- especially the information no one is supposed to know- is transferred in our family. Make a mental note: never tell an Adelsberger a secret about another Adelsberger. We don’t keep secrets from each other well)

I called Aaron around 10a. “You know dad went to the hospital this morning, right?”
“You mean the procedure none of us are suppose to know about? Yeah, I know,” he half joked.
I asked if he had heard anything; he hadn’t.
I asked him to call if he did; he said he would.
He told me to do the same.

I went on to my first and second appointments in the day, over in the Lakeview area. I kept checking my phone for a text from Mom. Nothing. For a family who communicates like we do, I knew that wasn’t a good sign. I had no more than left the little green house where I visit a newborn girl and her mom, when my phone rang. It was Mom… not that I could understand a word she said between her sobs. Not that I needed to, really. When someone calls sobbing to tell you about a colonoscopy, you know in your heart cancer has been found.

I offered to go straight to the hospital. She said Dad wasn’t awake yet and didn’t know and she didn’t want any of us kids there until he did. I got off the phone and called Aaron. We both cleared our schedules for the day and tried to decide whether or not we should go to the hospital anyway. Aaron said we should wait. When I am the bull in the china closet, he’s the one with some sense. I tried to go to my next appointment, but drove around instead… aimlessly for the most part. I thought about the few words I could make out that my mom said: “large mass” “been there 10 years” “very bad news for Dad”. My heart sunk as I thought about colon cancer- treatable if treated soon, right? Isn’t that what I had heard? And didn’t Katie Couric’s husband die very young of it?

My heading was swimming. I needed to keep busy.

I went home and cleaned every single food and cleaning product with preservatives and dyes and things I cannot pronounce out of the house. I had just finished reading a book over the weekend about how our hormones are affected by a number of these non-food chemicals in our “food” and how they cause disease. I had been meaning for a week to get rid of the stuff. And let me tell you, there’s no motivation like thinking someone you love is sick. Cancer runs in my dad’s family. All of his aunts and uncles and his mom and many of his cousins have died from one form or another. Without thinking too much about not wanting to die of cancer and not wanting my dad to die, I just took my nervous energy out on the fridge, pantry and laundry areas of the house.

I called Mom. Dad was coming home to sleep for a few hours before heading back to the doctor for his pre-surgery physical and blood work. They had done body scans and x-rays to look for cancer in other places.

He didn’t want anyone to come to the house.

So I went to the grocery, the health food store, and the Amish market, replacing our food and cleaners with all natural products. By four o’clock dinner was cooking in the oven for the whole family. Aaron and I finally insisted that we were all going to Mom and Dad’s that evening, whether or not he wanted to see anyone. Dad’s 3pm visit with the doctor had been scary. Surgery would be Thursday morning first thing. With the anesthesia wearing off, the reality was hitting home with Dad. He probably didn’t want to see anyone. But we are his kids. We were making dinner and coming over, regardless.

I loaded up the car with food and picked up Cohen from school, holding onto my emotions well enough to try to protect his little heart. On the way to my parents, Beth called. She and Shane and Lucy were coming in Wednesday afternoon and she needed to know if David could pick them up? We talked for awhile. I was careful to use words I thought Cohen wouldn’t understand.

Parking in the driveway, I prepped him… grandpa is sick, don’t jump on him, we aren’t going to be wild, etc. “Mommy, does Grandpa have cancer in his butt?” he innocently asked. I was floored. I had used “colon” and “stool”- how did he get that from what I said? I stared in the backseat at my blue eyed boy, face filled with concern. “Yes, baby. But please don’t say that, ok? It will make him sad.” He nodded his head. I knew what he was thinking. His buddy at school, the janitor, had died less than a month ago of cancer. Cohen had been praying and praying for Charlie and we had talked a lot about cancer. I have learned that with Co, you just have to tell him. If he asks, whatever it is, I just tell him the truth as simply and practically as I can. I had told him that cancer is something that grows in your body that shouldn’t and that sometimes it takes over. We had talked about dying- how everyone eventually will die and that its sad but not scary. He looked out the window while I unbuckled his seat. I knew he was thinking about that.

We all had dinner and Dad hid away in his office until I just went back there. I hugged his neck and I could feel the fear. I don’t think I had ever seen my dad scared before.

Wednesday morning David had his interview (don’t know yet about how it went- he had mixed thoughts about it- I think its up to the Lord ultimately, so we’re not sweating it). Dad was to go and meet the surgeon at 2:30 to discuss the results of the body scan and to go over the details of the surgery. Mom called hours earlier than that. Dad was meeting with Pastor. At Dad’s request.

I was shocked. Now, let me back up. I know that my Dad loves Jesus. No question about it. Even if he had never said that to me or indicated it, his life demonstrates it all the time. My dad is generous, selfless, kind, giving to those who will never be able to repay him… but my dad has also been hurt a lot, especially by other men; especially by spiritual leadership. That sad story too many have, my dad shares in. In particular, when I was very small, my dad had really dove into a church and had gotten involved, only to leave scathed and wounded by the man in charge. Things had never really been the same. Sure he had gone to church with us, but he was hesitant to lean into it and especially hesitant to trust anyone he perceived to be in leadership.

Now, I have made no bones about the fact that I love Pastor Ricks. And I do. He has taken more 2am calls from me than probably either of us would care to recount. He has counseled me right out of those rock and hard place kind of situations. He has been a shepherd and a friend and a father. One of the things our church gets most criticized for in our community is the fact that we love our pastor. Isn’t that sad??? Because his advice is taken and we love to mimmic the sayings he often repeats, we’ve been accused of being a cult. (Not even kidding). David and I laid awake in the bed a few nights ago talking about how sad that is! Shouldn’t loving and trusting your spiritual shepherd be the norm?!?! Why go to a church where you can’t take the advice of your pastor? And how come it is okay to mimmic the sayings of your favorite tv character or political pundit, but not a spiritual leader?

Still… my dad went to church every Sunday with us, but had some of the same distrustfulness of the community. Without ever saying so, we all knew he had his suspicions about pastors in general and Pastor in particular and- well, why can’t people just make their own decisions without asking for wisdom? My dad has always been his own man.

My self-made Dad was meeting with Pastor that I so love and trust. Hope flooded my soul.
I smiled and I could hear the smile in Mom’s voice.

Just before heading over to my parents’ Wednesday evening to meet up with David, the Barnard clan, and the rest of the family, Mom called. Dad’s scans and x-rays were clean. It wasn’t a 100% clean bill, they wouldn’t know for sure sure until the surgery, but it was a very good sign. We ate dinner together, oohed and ahhed over the babies and were just… together. We laid hands and prayed over Dad and he shared things with us that had everyone in tears. It was the sweetest time we’ve ever had as a family.

Earlier in the day Mom had told me that she wouldn’t have traded the last two days for anything in the world. I knew then exactly what she had meant.

Thursday morning we sat with him at the hospital until they took him back for anesthesia. He was nervous, but calm. I couldn’t help but think he looked lighter and clearer than ever before. I couldn’t help but think that maybe even as scary as the word “cancer” is, that maybe this was one of the best things that had ever happened to our family.

The surgery that should’ve lasted 3 hours, only lasted half that long. Dad did better than expected and no cancer was found anywhere else, even in the area directly around the tumor. The “large mass” turned about to be half the size expected and the cancer appears to be slow growing. Dad has a long recovery ahead of him. Major surgery and getting split open is nothing to underestimate, but he’s as good as he has ever been. Maybe better.

A long time ago Pastor preached something that has stuck with me. In talking about how God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, he said that we humans just cannot really know if something is good or bad. Sure, cancer sounds bad, but what if God works the circumstance together such that the person while suffering in their body (which, by the way isn’t eternal) gets all kinds of things resolved in their spirit (which, by the way is)? Then is it bad? Or is it a blessing? Or does it fall into the category of those things which were meant for evil, but used by God for good?

So this Sunday morning (with more updates to give you coming soon) I am thanking God that He knows how to love, protect, discipline and ultimately draw, heal and restore those that are His!

**Please be praying for our Dad as he recovers. It is very likely that he won’t have to endure chemotherapy, but physically coming back from the surgery is going to take awhile. He will be off work a minimum of 6 weeks and we’re asking God to give Dad a sweet time of rest and restoration**

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I won’t pretend we live a rock star life here in the metropolis of Bellefontaine. [Because clearly that would be the assumption *grin*] Usually our weeks are predictable, punctuated by “big events” like a walk to the park or Co’s gymnastics class. And frankly, we like it that way.

But this week… well, this week is a Big Week of Big Things. [descriptive title, eh?]

Monday:
First day official of Spring (hallelujah!) aaaannnd Cohen’s pre-kindergarten screening. He is oh-so-very excited. He keeps calling it his “test” and asking me if he really has to count to ten. The boy is so stinkin smart its crazy, but he pretty much has refused to learn to count. I mean why learn those logical, rote skills when you can sing and make up stories and build things? Right? So since we can never get him to finish a count to ten, I suppose we will learn tomorrow if he cannot do it or just won’t for us.

Since I am sure K-4 screening cannot be too hard for Co to pass and since I am not one of those tiger moms, I am not sweating it. Now the parental interview taking place for us while Co is at screening…? Well that’s another story. Cohen is going to attend the local Christian school and they require this interview as a part of the enrollment process. I keep wondering what in the world they are going to ask us? and if we will measure up as good parents, never mind good Christians? I am wishing Co and I could switch like Freaky Friday cause I know I can count to ten. In three languages.

Oh- and Monday I get my second of 16 progesterone shots to keep this little bambino inside my womb until he/she is done cooking. The nurse – and everyone else- was quick to assure me the shots would hurt and that I would at least bruise and be stiff for two days after getting them. Oh, and that I’d likely have a splitting headache for 24 hours. Last week? Nothing. No stinging from the 2″ long needle in my hip. No stiffness. No headache. Praying it was not beginner’s luck.

Tuesday:
I am getting my hair did, friends. Not that a trip to the salon is really earth shattering news… unless you only do it like twice a year. And yes, I only do it like twice a year. Because a cut and color isn’t cheap. And I am cheap thrifty frugal. The best part? I know I want to do something drastic (after all, who wouldn’t after 6 months of no change?) so I have no idea if I am going to come home with way blond hair and a shoulder length bob or chestnut color with long Bohemian layers. Feel free to cast your vote.

Wednesday:
My very adorable, hard working, and extremely deserving husband has an interview for a big promotion in the morning. Seriously… if you think about it pray for God’s favor for him. I have never known a more diligent, steadfast, hardworking man of integrity in my life. I am asking God to honor David’s faithfulness by allowing his hard work to be acknowledged.

Thursday:
Family date day… I have banked some hours at work so I can take the day off. All of our plans are secret. Cohen keeps asking me what we’re doing, but I am not even going to type it out here because for all I know the boy who won’t count to ten might secretly be able to read. Lord knows he can navigate the computer better than me already. But I will update you after the fact because it is going to be massively fun.

And apart of the massive fun that will be Thursday…? TWO ULTRASOUNDS. One will be like ever other routine monthly internal ultrasound I have had and will until I am no longer preggo [gotta love high(er) risk pregnancies]… But the other is our 20 week developmental ultrasound where we will get to really SEE the baby. I am feeling SO much movement these days, I cannot wait to see how he/she performs “on screen”. I remember Co’s 20 week ultrasound and how magical it was… can’t wait!

We’re still not sure if we’re going to find out the baby’s gender or not… my vote is for the surprise but David would like to know and it has to be all or nothing. If he found out and I didn’t, I would be able to tell from his face right away. Cohen thinks he gets to “decide” what we’re having… Since everyone keeps asking him, “are you having a brother or sister?” he has it in his head that he gets to put in an order or something…I hope its not like the dump truck fiasco at Christmas. On Christmas Eve we went to my grandpa’s and he had invited a local Santa Clause to come for the great-grandkids. Cohen hopped up on Santa’s lap and said he wanted a remote controlled monster truck. Not that he had ever mentioned it before that exact moment. So, Christmas morning he asked why Santa forgot the remote controlled dump truck??? And, friends, he is still asking. So let’s just hope Cohen and God have “decided” the same thing about this little baby.

Friday:
Unbelievably Friday is David and I’s 6 month anniversary. I keep thinking how in some ways it feels like we just got married last weekend and then in other ways it feels like we’ve been together a lifetime already. There is too much to say about that in a paragraph update. [In other words, be expecting a blog Friday if not before]

Saturday:
I am turning 30! I swore that I would never be one of those women who mourned her birthday, no matter what the number on the cake is… and I can honestly say that I am excited about entering a new decade. My twenties were hard in a lot of ways… good too, especially when it comes to Cohen and David… but I have a feeling my thirties are going to be so much sweeter.

Sunday:
CHURCH. Always a highlight. Today’s sermon was particularly spot-on. You can listen by clicking here and choosing “I Agree” Parts 1 & 2. Oh, but don’t mind us- we laugh a lot at church 🙂 Looking forward to what God has to say at the end of our very eventfully (possibly even a little bit rock star?) week.

Okay friends… heading to bed. Will be checking in.

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Springing Forward

Technically it is almost 7a, but it feels like the middle of the night. Scout and Piper barked and then began that beautiful (ahem, ahem) beagle howling about thirty minutes ago. I looked at the red numbers on the alarm clock for the millionth time and decided I would just get up.

White preggo pajamas, funky woven hat, David’s fur lined zip up hoodie that still comes down to my knees, and flip flops… I was quite the sight walking around the yard while my two miniature beagles sniffed and ran around chasing smells no one else would be able to detect.

Cohen hasn’t slept well in more than three weeks now. And by not sleeping well, I mean he’s up and in our room and very awake between four and eight times a night. It is like having a newborn. And can I say that even typing that makes me nervous? Because soon enough we will have a newborn and if my almost four year old is sharing that same sleep pattern, it is going to be like night of the living dead around here. [so pray for his anxiety, would you?]

Mom came and got Cohen after dinner last night to give us a break have a sleep over with her boys so I was determined to get to bed at 8a and sleep until 8a. Of course, then I started to feel kind of sick and icky and scratchy in the throat and stuffed up in the sinuses. So while I did lie down at 8a, sleep was hard to come by. I got up an hour later to try some homemade remedies for colds (thanks to my friends Aegis & Rachael), even going so far as to shoot a glass of freshly squeezed lemon and mashed up cloves of garlic after using the netti pot. I have to say it helped some, but since I cannot smell, I am not sure just how bad the garlic smell is on me this morning. I am thinking it has got to be pretty bad. (Poor David)

David finished working on our taxes and came to bed at 10p or so. Still restless, I decided to take a hot bath. He grabbed a book and joined in me in the bathroom, sitting on Co’s wooden stool while I tried to get rid of the chills and induce sleepiness. Instead, we talked and I got all awake again. Sometime around midnight, I did fall asleep. But I saw 2a, 3:30a, and 4:45a and then 5:30a…….. WHICH was by then technically 6:30 thanks to our Springing Forward last night.

Although it felt like a kick pants to lose yet another hour of sleep, and although it felt more like a crawl forward on my part, I am choosing this morning to think about SPRINGING forward into SPRING.

Yesterday in the late morning, armed with two tape measures and a very eager three year old, David and I went about the business of measuring in our yard. Cohen dressed himself (as is now the custom on days when matching doesn’t matter) in bright blue and yellow striped track pants, muted blue and gray motorcycle shirt, winter boots, a red Nike sweatshirt, and his fireman raincoat. He carried a tape measure in his pocket- the tape measure was really too big for the size of the pocket, so he spent a lot of time picking it up off the ground and trying to put it back- definitely more time than he was actually “carrying” it. He jumped in every mud puddle and broke up the little remaining ice and snow left untouched by the sun. When he tied of that because his socks were wet (this was a tragedy), he got his tricycle out of the garage and barreled back and forth in our circular driveway. He was in heaven.

So were we. All around the yard, little white and purple buds are poking through the ground. Birds chirped. Squirrels chased each other through the trees, jumping occasionally onto the roof of the house or the garage. A neighbor stopped by to tell us about how years ago our yard had been beautifully landscaped, deciphering for us what actually was under the massive amounts of of ivy we have yet to contend with. Two neighbors have pointed out the peach tree and told us not to cut that down. I think our empty house must have for some time been providing the neighborhood with peaches. *grin*

David and I dreamed and talked and schemed with our measurements and paper and pen. We’re having plans for a large addition drawn up and cannot wait to implement our other ideas: fencing, a pergola, patios, porches, gardens, a “wall” of lilac bushes, etc.

When I bought this house two and a half years ago, one of the major draws for me was the yard. Almost half an acre in arguably one of the nicest neighborhoods in town, the lot was overgrown and neglected, but it had a certain enchanted way about it. Then Mom and I cut down and hauled away 23 truckloads of brush and weeds and our friend Nick cut down ten dead trees and it lost some of the magic for me. Mostly because I realized just how much work was still left to do. But yesterday… yesterday I saw it again… the possibilities.

Isn’t there just something about spring? Just thinking about it makes the words of Hosea 6 and one of my favorite Shane and Shane melodies float around in my mind…

1″Come, let us return to the LORD
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
2″He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him.
3″So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”

Spring is that time when all things become new and pregnant with hope and potential once again. It has always been my favorite season, but in recent years I have come to identify with it even more closely. When I think about all of the reviving that God has done my life even in the past year; all of the restoration of things once lost, I am utterly overwhelmed. What had seemed dead and barren, He has watered back into bloom.

He really is as dependable as this morning’s sunrise.

So, this morning I thoroughly expect to hear birds any minute and that gorgeous morning light invading the windows of my little house. And I am going to enjoy every second of it despite not feeling very well and not having gotten a lot of sleep.

In nine days Spring officially be among us… what old thing are you going to ask God to breathe new life into? to send His refreshing, reviving rain upon?

Happy Sunday, friends.

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